Difference between Switch and Bridge

Prerequisite – Network Devices
1. Switch :
A switch is basically a hardware or a device which is responsible for channeling the data that is coming into the various input ports to a particular output port which will further take the data to the desired destination.It is thus mainly used for the transfer of the data packets among various network devices such as routers, servers etc.It is actually a data link layer device (layer 2 device) which ensures that the data packets being forwarded are error free and accurate.The switch makes the use of the MAC address in order to forward the data to the data link layer. Since the switch inputs the data from multiple ports thus it is also called multiport bridge.

2. Bridge :
A bridge is basically a device which is responsible for dividing a single network into various network segments.Thus the process of dividing a single network into various multiple network segments is called as network bridging.Every network segment thus represents a separate collision domain where each domain has a different bandwidth.The performance of the network can be improved by using a bridge as the number of collisions occurring on the network get reduced.The bridge takes the decision that the incoming network traffic has to be forwarded or filtered.Bridge is also responsible for maintaining the MAC (media access control) address table.



Difference between switch and bridge:

S.NO. Switch Bridge
1. It is a device which is responsible for channeling the data that is coming into the various input ports to a particular output port which will further take the data to the desired destination. It is basically a device which is responsible for dividing a single network into various network segments.
2. A switch can have a lot of ports. A bridge can have 2 or 4 ports only.
3. The switch performs the packet forwarding by using hardwares such as ASICS hence, it is hardware based. The bridge performs the packet forwarding by using softwares so it is software based.
4. The switching method in case of a switch can thus be store, forward, fragment free or cut through. The switching method in case of a bridge is store and forward.
5. The task of error checking is performed by a switch. A bridge cannot perform the error checking.
6. A switch has buffers. A bridge may not have a buffer.

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